By-election saga could be race to the bottom

No matter who the politician is, by their very nature they will be polarising.

But outgoing state member of parliament Katrina Hodgkinson – at least until the government’s recent decisions on greyhound racing and council amalgamations – seemed to transcend the government mire to become a popular representative for her constituents.

And while the local government mergers will leave a bitter taste to an otherwise successful political career, Ms Hodgkinson should be remembered for sticking her neck out to cross the floor when the greyhound ban was up for discussion.

Then Nationals leader Troy Grant said he was proud of Ms Hodgkinson for crossing the floor, but dropped the hammer in the days following Ms Hodgkinson making the stance.

Her gutsy move led to her being dumped as a parliamentary secretary – an announcement she found out through a media release.

Mr Grant stepped down from the Nationals leader chair soon after.

Ms Hodgkinson's seat of Cootamundra is held on a margin of 20.4 per cent, but the Nationals will be nervous about a challenge from the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party, which took the seat of Orange from the party in a by-election last year.

"It's been a really challenging couple of years," Ms Hodgkinson told Fairfax Media.

She said any suggestion her decision was a vote of no confidence in Nationals leader John Barilaro or Ms Berejiklian was "blatantly untrue".

The vultures are already starting to circle the Cootamundra electorate, with Country Labor man Charlie Sheahan throwing his hat in the ring, and Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party leader Robert Borsak saying the party will contest the upcoming by-election.

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party famously won the Orange by-election in November last year – traditionally a safe Nationals seat – so Ms Hodgkinson’s replacement might have a battle on their hands.

The Gundagai Council in Exhile has been a vocal critic of Ms Hodgkinson, claiming she did not do enough to prevent the unwanted marriage between Cootamundra and Gundagai.

With the imminent local government elections in September, the by-election might not happen until November. 

The stage is set set for an epic showdown in the coming months.